NASA has replaced an astronaut set to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in June with a backup.
Jeanette Epps, who was set to become the first African American crew member on the space station, has been reassigned to the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the space agency announced. She will be considered for future flights.
“Serena Auñón-Chancellor, who previously was assigned to Expedition 58/59, has been reassigned to the Expedition 56/57 crew, launching in June,” NASA said in a press release. ” Anne McClain, a member of the 2013 astronaut class, will fly on the Expedition 58/59 crew, launching in November.”
NASA did not give provide a reason for the reassignment of Epps, who was selected as an astronaut in 2009.
Auñón-Chancellor, from Fort Collins, Colorado, joined the astronaut corps in 2009 and has been at NASA since 2006, when she became a flight surgeon. Before being selected as an astronaut, she spent more than nine months in Russia supporting medical operations for space station crew members, including water survival training in the Ukraine, and served as the deputy lead for medical operations for NASA’s Orion spacecraft.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University, Auñón-Chancellor holds a doctorate in medicine from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, is board certified in internal and aerospace medicine, and earned a master’s degree in public health from the University of Texas Medical Branch.
McClain is from Spokane, Washington. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2002. She then went on to the University of Bath in England for a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, followed by the University of Bristol in England for a master’s degree in international relations.
She was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army in 2002, and earned her wings as a Kiowa Warrior pilot in 2005. She served 15 months in Operation Iraqi Freedom, flying more than 800 combat hours. McClain graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in June 2013. She has over 2,000 flight hours in more than 20 rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft, and has logged time as a pilot in command, air mission commander, instructor pilot and test pilot.
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